Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney accused House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday of stalling on dealing with the partial government shutdown to help her chances of becoming speaker.
President Donald Trump has stood his ground on not signing spending bills unless he gets $5 billion for a southern border wall.
Democratic leaders have refused to give him anything for the wall, which caused the government to shut down partially on December 22.
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Mulvaney put the blame mainly on Pelosi, who is seeking to become the next speaker.
“They left town,” Mulvaney said on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends” on Friday.
“And I think the reason they did is because Nancy Pelosi, in fairness, does not have the votes for the speakership yet. She cannot be seen by her party as being weak on negotiating with Donald Trump.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had previously said he was only willing to provide the $1.6 billion for border security.
But those funds cannot go to the construction of a border wall.
He later reduced that figure to $1.3 billion for border security funding. Trump has rejected both counter offers.
Mulvaney said during the interview that it actually seems Schumer might be interested in making a deal — while Pelosi is not.
“So we fully expect that until she is elected speaker and has locked that vote up, we don’t expect to hear from the Democrats again,” Mulvaney said. “They told us last night that they were not countering our last offer.”
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Democrats have instead put the blame on Republicans for the government shutdown. House Rules Committee Ranking Member James McGovern (D-Mass.) said Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is at fault for refusing to bring a short-term funding bill to end the government shutdown up for a vote.
“It is outrageous that Republicans once again blocked our attempt to debate a bill to end the Trump shutdown and reopen the government,” McGovern said in a statement provided to LifeZette. “Federal workers should not be held hostage by the president’s demand for a useless and offensive border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.”
Trump has fought against illegal immigration throughout his presidency as part of his promise to enforce the rule of law and protect domestic workers.
But a surge of supposed asylum seekers over the past year has exasperated the issue. He has tried to combat the issue in multiple ways — which have faced legal challenges.
“Republicans hold the House, the Senate, and the White House until January 3rd,” McGovern said. “They closed this government down and they have an obligation to open it back up. If they continue refusing to do so, the Democratic majority will move to responsibly end the Trump shutdown on day one of the new Congress.”
The issue at hand is how the administration goes about weeding out legitimate asylum claims from those that aren’t.
Some immigrants who enter the country illegally then claim asylum after they get caught. But immigration officials are often compelled to let them go in the hopes they show up to a future court date to process their claims — which they may or may not do.
The process to access asylum claims can be long and the children that some of these people bring with them can’t be held for more than 20 days.
Many of the asylum seekers over the past year have traveled together in large migrant caravans — complicating the issue.
The largest occurred over the fall and included thousands of migrants who traveled from Honduras toward the southern border.
Trump and his administration have proposed ideas such as keeping migrants out of the country until their asylum claims can be accessed and automatically denying asylum to those who are found in the country illegally.
But his administration has faced legal challenges on nearly everything it has tried to do.
“We will be forced to close the southern border entirely if the obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted as part of a series of messages on Friday.
“Hard to believe there was a Congress & president who would approve!”
Congressional Republicans worked to try to reach a deal with both the president and Democratic leaders before the shutdown.
McConnell even introduced a continuing resolution a few days prior to keep the government funded at current levels until February 8. But it ultimately failed when it reached the House — where it faced strong opposition from the House Freedom Caucus.
Trump seemed ready to take the blame for the shutdown in the name of border security during a contentious meeting with Democratic leaders on December 11. But he later argued the Democrats would be a fault if they didn’t vote for border security.
Schumer responded by putting the blame on him.
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